Iraq: Man in armoured BMW saves scores of people from Isis snipers; automaker offers new car. [Representational image]Wikimedia Commons

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter named Ako Abdulrahman has managed to save the lives of scores of people in what is considered one of the heartlands of the Islamic State group — also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) — thanks to a BMW armoured car. With this car damaged, the automaker has now apparently offered the fighter another car.

Abdulrahman lives with his wife and four children around 20 km south of Kirkuk, and it was in Kirkuk that he first felt the need for an armoured car, after he was fired upon by members of Isis one day, according to a CNN report. Kirkuk has been restive due to Isis presence in the area, with the terrorist group often resorting to beheadings and executions in the region, for even the slightest of transgressions.

After he came under attack, Abdulrahman reportedly decided to buy an armoured vehicle to help him and his fellow Kurdish Peshmerga fighters to give back to Isis in kind.

The exact details may not be available, but the CNN report says Abdulrahman managed to by the 1990s model of a BMW armoured car for $10,000, which he has since used to save a lot of lives. He said: "My friends were very happy when I bought the armoured car. We started driving in it to the front line near Kirkuk, not worried about Isis drive-by shootings or roadside bombs."

Then, when Isis terrorists struck the area on October 21, killing more than 60 people while losing more than 80 of their own, the dust settled to reveal several people severely injured and in instant need of medical attention. 

The daring rescue

This was when the fighter and his trusty ride came in handy, as they did go around the city gathering the wounded and taking them to wherever they could receive the proper medical attention. "I told myself, this is the right time to help people, this is the right moment to do it. I am a fighter and I have a bulletproof car, shame on me if I can't help," he was quoted as saying in the report. 

"When I arrived at the scene, I saw many people on the ground, civilians and security forces and no one could dare to come close because of Isis snipers and random shooting," he said. Add to that the intermittent firing from Isis, and the situation was quite dire. However, Abdulrahman ended up transporting 70 people to safety, despite his BMW taking sustained bullet fire on its body.

"In my car, I carried Sunni, Shiite, Kurds, Turkmen and Christians. I felt like I am truly Iraq and this is who everyone should be. My car received more than 50 bullets, [there are] marks all over it. Isis kept shooting, hoping to penetrate my car to kill me and kill the wounded people inside it," he said.

Offer from BMW

Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim has reportedly lauded Abdulrahman, and also offered him a reward of 500,000 dinars ($385). However, he turned it down. Incidentally, even BMW reportedly offered him a new vehicle, but he turned it down as well, instead choosing to repair his own car and continue with its services.